Running from Hurricanes and other nasty things

Waking up in a van in Mexico is pretty surreal. Waking up and realizing youʻre in Mexico and a hurricane is coming your way just plain sucks. The last hurricane to strike Baja (just a couple weeks before) did a number on Los Cabos. This time the storm was headed to northern Baja, aka right where we woke up. This was a day of driving: as far south as we could get.

We initially tried to make it to Abreojos to camp but soon realized it was too ambitious.  Instead, we aimed for a cobblestone beach called the Wall. The drive was all desert punctuated by small, dusty towns. Baja is quite desolate, especially in these middle stretches, and at one point we had to get gas from a guy selling it on the side of the road. It was raining the entire drive, something Paul had never seen before. After a six-hour drive, we pulled up to the Wall as the sun was setting.

We woke up early the next morning and packed the van. We still had another 4 hours or so of driving to get away from the oncoming storm. But before we left we checked out these structures people had made out of smooth stones found on the beach. Most were used as windbreaks (the wind howls something awful here) but there was also an archway you can walk though. These structures are made and supported entirely of stones – no cement assistance here. 

Once packed, we set off again and soon crossed into Baja Sur. Here there is a relaxed border patrol guard asking you if you have any fruit (youʻre not allowed to bring any fruit across the border here) and asking for 20 pesos to fumigate the car.

We were soon feeling pretty good about outrunning the storm and with plenty of daylight left, we went on a hunt for some surf. We drove out to San Hipolito to check a promising point on our map and promptly got stuck in the sand. It would be the first of three while in Baja. The back of the van was buried up to the trailer hitch! Paul and I got out and started shoveling, but before long two guys came by to help us. With the guys pushing from behind and Paul giving it some gas, we were able to get the van to safety.

We made it to San Hipolito without further incident. Unfortunately there were no waves. We decided to keep driving along the coast until we hit Abreojos. The drive was long and much of it was washboard road that would rattle the van till I felt like it was about to fall apart. I discovered then that a steady stream of rust was raining down from the roof of the van right onto my lap. From then on any time we went over rough road I would hold an open book over my lap to collect the rust. Every couple of minutes or so I would shake out the book out the window, place it back in my lap, and start collecting all over again. Gotta love a van thatʻs older than you.

We reached Abreojos by late afternoon. As we pulled up to the point we proceeded to get stuck in the sand for the second time that day! We were at work for a while digging out the tires and trying to lay wood down for traction but that thing was well and truly stuck. Another really nice guy came by and tried to help push us out but it was no good. We gave him two Tecates for his troubles anyways.

Luckily a guy named Andy, who lives at the point a few months a year, pulled us out with his truck. We spoke with him for a while as we finally got a chance to check the surf. It was completely blown out. We had been striking out all day, so I was in a pretty lame mood when Paul recommended we drive down to a nearby point that was a little more protected. He had surfer here years ago and remembered ridiculously long consistent (but small) waves. We were not disappointed. The waves may have been on the smaller side, but they reeled down this point for hundreds of meters. It was beautiful.

After another long, frustrating day of driving and crappy surf, we had finally found something great. We decided to set up camp and stay for a while. 

Paddling out